Best Server -- Male (2001)

John Carl
Tante Louise

Although the career waiter has gone the way of the Studebaker and the eight-track, that sad fact doesn't slow John Carl one bit. After fifteen years as the most graceful, attentive server at one of the town's most graceful, attentive restaurants, Carl still loves his job at Tante Louise. "It's not what I went to college for," admits the Iowa native, whose first job in Denver was at Top of the Rockies in the early '70s. "But I do like to say I'm in the business of marketing escargot." First, though, he sizes up the mood and sensibilities of the diners at a table, then suggests just the right dishes -- escargot or no. After that, he goes about serving the meal with seamless, invisible efficiency; items appear and disappear from the table with barely a movement of air. You won't realize that Carl's at work unless you make it a point to watch him -- and then you'll be rewarded with quite a show. Watch Carl handle a difficult table with the greatest of ease. Watch Carl float like a butterfly without stinging like a bee. He's pure poetry in motion. "I was pretty green when I got to Tante Louise," Carl admits. "So I guess I've come a long way." And how, baby.


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